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For a young girl in Jody Luk Yee-sum’s Lazy Hazy Crazy (2015), having sex does not automatically make her an adult or a woman. It’s the maturity that counts. Stephen Tan reviews.

Jody Luk Yee-sum’s Lazy Hazy Crazy (2015) could have been a very fine coming-of-age film. By choosing to go the adult-movie/Category III route, it already tries to think its way out of the box.

Eighteen-year-old Chloe (Mak Tsz-Yi) and Alice (Fish Liew Ziyu) are not your average high schoolers. They are already veterans when it comes to selling sex (blow jobs cost extra; and even more if the client comes in the mouth!). Unlike their Japanese counterparts who may see selling sex as getting some extra pocket money, for Alice, it’s practically a means of livelihood since she has long been abandoned by both parents.

The free-spirited Chloe looks like the more experienced of the two and their group includes the slightly nerdy Tracy (Ashina Kwok Yik-Sum). Tracy is not into selling sex and harbours a crush on sports jock Andrew. On the other hand, both Chloe and Alice are both physically affectionate towards Andrew as they have been friends.

Chloe gets Tracy to work at a club but Tracy turns frigid in front of the customers until the kind Gregory warms her up. The friendship between the girls is tested when Tracy discovers Alice sleeping with Andrew. Tracy, perhaps using Gregory to vent her frustrations, turns to him for sex and even agrees to be his paid-girlfriend. In the meantime, videos of Andrew having sex with Alice get posted on the internet. The clique splits up but the girls reconcile when Tracy’s pet dog, which Alice looks after, goes missing.

In a Hong Kong Cat III movie that involves prostitution, nudity and sex is already par for the course. In Lazy Hazy Crazy, the nudity is actually more among the girls, especially when they are having a bubble bath on the rooftop (heavily featured in the ads, poster art and trailers).

What’s more interesting is the cursing and swearing among the girls. Back in 1970, Chor Yuen tested the waters in The House Of 72 Tenants when the characters swore. No real expletives were used then - think of what’s said as euphemisms. But in newer films such as MicroSex Office (2011) and Vulgaria (2012, which Jody Luk helped to script), the swearing comes naturally and is very much a fabric of both films. In Lazy Hazy Crazy, the girls swear wonderfully - they swear like there is no tomorrow; the swearing is natural and it feels real. [The swearing is such a delight in Cantonese, no idea how that sounds when translated into Mandarin.]

Unfortunately, Lazy Hazy Crazy does not carry that edge to make it memorable. You just want a bit more grit and dirt and there is none. A big problem is how the Tracy character is written. As one of three friends, there is no way she can be so “distant” from crush Andrew; and no way she has not talked about her crush with the other two girls. After all, she so blatantly wears it on her sleeve. And if they are friends, why would Alice sleep with Andrew? If Alice is considerate enough to offer her flat as a hangout for the girls and is willing to look after Tracy’s pet dog, wouldn’t she be thoughtful enough of Tracy and stepped back from Andrew?

And if her two “best” friends are servicing men, there is again no way virginal Tracy can be that innocent about sex. Then, there is Tracy doing club work and getting involved with Gregory. On the one hand, it all seems so sudden and, on the other, somewhat baffling.

Based on real-life interviews, Luk seems to be ticking off boxes to make the film. In the melodrama department, there is Tracy with her grandmother, played to the hilt by former Shaw Brothers’ sexbomb Susan Siu Yam-yam. In her own strict ways, Grandma wants what’s best for Tracy but the scene where Tracy strips down to show Grandma she has no tattoos on her body is just jarring.

Then, there is Alice, who has daddy issues. Abandoned since young, Alice has always fended for herself and her paternal grandmother, who has since pass away. Her father, who works in Bangkok, suddenly shows up, and suggests that Alice goes back with him. It is also hinted that her father has been keeping tabs on Alice and is unhappy with how Alice lives her life. One also wonders what director-writer Luk had in mind when she wrote that Alice’s mother is from Ipoh in Malaysia. That “fact” is purely glossed over.

The introduction of a pet dog in the beginning of the film should suggest how the film would end and it comes as no surprise. What’s truly surprising is how lame and pet it all looks - friends break up [over boy]; and friends make up [over lost dog].

What saves the show is that touch of lesbianism between Alice and Chloe. It is not just an experiment with sex. For Alice, getting intimate with Chloe is about acknowleding and connecting with another person, something that seems to be missing in their lives, despite all the physical sex they have with their respective male clients. The fact that Alice wants her clients to penetrate her from behind - so that she can avoid looking at their faces - already shows how she differentiates between her own and “working” life.

That tentative first kiss that Alice gives to a sleeping Chloe is Alice putting herself on the line. And watched by Tracy on a separate couch, it also shows the gulf - both physical and emotional - between the girls. Too bad that Luk decided not to focus on the differences between the girls but to go for a totally “happy” ending (with sparklers and barbecue by the beach to boot) - and one that’s not even bittersweet at that.

Note: The Lazy Hazy Crazy DVD is banned in $ingapore.

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